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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pastoral Reflections

The virtue of holiness is ascribed to God and used to describe men and women whose names are listed among saints and martyrs. But for ordinary believers it seems unattainable, at least in this life. Nonetheless, today’s Scriptures suggest that the people of God can be and should be holy.

In the First Reading from Leviticus, God instructs Moses to tell the covenant people to be holy. Their holiness originates in the holiness of God, but it finds expression in community, in love of neighbor.

Today’s psalm comes from the soul and blesses God. The act of blessing was understood to be a gesture of thanksgiving, so to bless God was to thank God— especially in this case, because God is kind and merciful. God puts aside our sins as far as “the east is from the west” and is as tender and compassionate toward us as a parent toward a child.

Paul frequently expounds on his theology of the body. We are familiar with his analogy between the body and the community, each with its various parts and gifts. Here Paul tells the Christians that they are the temple of God and that they are holy. This might have been shocking language for the early Christians, but Paul believes that they belong to Christ, the source of all holiness.

Today’s Gospel continues Jesus’ teaching on how to interpret the tradition concerning our relations with each other. How should we respond to injury within the community? The ancient rule of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is no longer acceptable. Although intended to limit retribution, Jesus has a higher (and a seemingly perplexing) standard:  “Offer no resistance.” And when one is asked to offer assistance to someone, give more than expected, not less. The goal of the disciple is to be “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

At Home with the Word

 

In the Spring of 1988, Bishop William D. Keeler formed a new parish to accommodate the rapid growth in Silver Spring Township and named Reverend James R. O’Brien as the founding pastor. That same year, Mother Katharine Drexel was beatified by Pope John Paul, II. Saint Katharine DrexelAt Bishop Keeler’s request, the Holy Father gave his permission to name the Parish in Silver Spring Township as the first parish in the world to be named in her honor. Eighteen years later, on October 1, 2000, Blessed Katharine Drexel was canonized and the church’s name changed to Saint Katharine Drexel.

The Saint Katharine Drexel Parish Family, guided by the Holy Spirit, commits itself to reaching out and sharing with all people the love and service modeled by our patroness, with the Eucharist as our source of strength. Through prayer and action, we will serve God, our Lord and Savior, and our community, exhibiting a special concern for the poor, oppressed and marginalized of our society, especially those among the African-American & Native-American peoples.

 

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